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  1. Billions of views from viewers across all continents
  2. How the war impacted the company's business
  3. From freelancer to CEO: it all started with a needle and thread

"Content is not king. The viewer is king," says Olena Razinkova, CEO of Fabiosa Media, a global leader in viral content production. 90% of the company's specialists are Ukrainians. Fabiosa has been thriving in markets like the USA, Latin America, India, etc. "When creating videos, I don’t think about the main character's emotions. I'm interested in the emotion of the viewer that I evoke," says Olena.

Скриншот аналітики від Tubular Labs — світовий рейтинг виробників вірального відео за осінь 2023 року. Надано компанією Fabiosa Media
Screenshot of analytics from Tubular Labs – global ranking of viral video producers for the fall of 2023. Provided by Fabiosa Media

Under the leadership of Olena Razinkova, the Ukrainian team has learned to create content that captures viewers' attention from the first second and successfully monetize the videos produced. Videos created by Fabiosa Media receive up to 10 billion views per month. For example, in September, the company's videos received 9 billion views on Facebook and 1 billion views on YouTube.

In 2023, the company became the fourth-largest producer of viral video content in the world among companies using a similar monetization model, a significant leap from its 154th position four years ago.

Digital First Media chart
This is a ranking of video content producers for social networks by Tubular Labs, a company that studies the interests and behavior of video audiences across all social platforms. The ranking, not publicly released and only available to service clients, is determined by the total view counts on YouTube and Facebook per month.

The secret to the company's success, how AI helps creators, and how to create a product that interests billions, was shared by Olena Razinkova in an interview with LIGA.net.

Billions of views from viewers across all continents

― Tell us, what is Fabiosa today?

― Fabiosa is a business that has undergone many transformations. We started with editorial activities, writing 5,000 articles a month in 7 languages, working with soft news, hard news, and evergreen content.

But when Facebook began actively integrating video monetization and promoting video as its key product, we understood that people on social networks would rather watch than read. The viewer wants to see content that is interesting, entertaining, educational, and motivational.

In 2019, we underwent our first transformation: from editorial activities to video-only, effectively becoming a production company.

At Fabiosa, we still had over 200 people, but we were no longer producing 5,000 articles; we were making 200 videos a month, created in our production studio in Kyiv, covering 3,500 square meters.

This shift brought us from 154th to 8th place in the ranking of global publishers of viral content, achieving 4.5 billion views per month on Facebook. We also developed our presence on YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram.

Команда керівників Fabiosa Media. Дружня атмосфера є ключовою складовою корпоративної культури. Фото надане компанією
The management team of Fabiosa Media. A friendly atmosphere is a key component of corporate culture. Photo provided by the company

― So, focusing on video and social networks was fully justified?

― I believe that the media market has irreversibly changed, and social networks are where people consume content. On average, a person spends 151 minutes per day on social networks. Young people spend even more time and often on two or three screens simultaneously.

As a result, the viewer has become a professional. If you don't capture their attention in the first second of the video, the video fails to retain the viewer at all. So, we work with every frame of the 25 frames per second.

We are now actively working on implementing AI in the company. We have been in the network for a long time, and growth and development thanks to AI are very noticeable. For us, this is a key development vector for the near future. After all, when communicating with both people and algorithms online, you need to understand both. Otherwise, you lose.

― How do you cope with changes in social network algorithms? It directly affects the distribution and popularity of specific content.

― You can't be a sailor, go to sea, and try to calm the sea down. Social networks are the sea, and they also have mood swings, which is normal for a sailor. We just don't try to calm the sea down; we try to adapt to the element.

― In your opinion, which social networks are the most promising?

― You can go to Statista and see data showing that Meta (including Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Treads) has 3.8 billion active users. YouTube has 2.2 billion active users. TikTok is growing rapidly, and Snapchat is approaching a billion. The numbers speak for themselves.

Meta is the most turbulent sea, Reels is a mega-successful project. Within two months of entering Reels, we received 360 million views.

How the war impacted the company's business

― How has the full-scale invasion of Russia affected Fabiosa's work?

― The war has greatly affected us. We didn't lose the market, but we lost production capacity. This is painful. In January 2023, we completely abandoned production, rolled back all production capacities in Ukraine, and became a publisher licensee. We used to have 250 people; now the company has 100 specialists who release half a thousand viral videos per month.

Such a transformation allowed us to reach the fourth place in the world. Our publishing capabilities are 165 million followers on Facebook and 20 million viewers on YouTube. We license and easily produce content from hundreds of creators.

As a broadcaster, we analyze the audience, edit, package, and publish content prepared for us by partners. Our audience is the USA, Latin America, Mexico, and Brazil, India. Our team is 90% Ukrainian and we work entirely remotely. We're proving that Ukrainians can move mountains in the digital world.

― How has this business model affected financial indicators?

― We monetize through advertising placement. Advertisers come to social networks to place their ads. And we provide them with the same viral content in which their ads will be seen by most people.

We do not disclose revenue figures. But I can say that we chose the right vector and see prospects both in coverage and in money.

Before COVID, we were actively growing. In the first year, when we only worked on video content, we grew tenfold, and in 2020-2021 we doubled our revenue and worked with a margin of over 50%. The full-scale invasion hit us hard.

― What type of content do you make? How does the process of creating ideas and creativity for your videos happen to ensure that the product will indeed become viral?

― All our content is short. For us, long content is 3-4 minutes, but we often make shorter videos – 30-40 seconds, and even 8-second videos. Our videos feature non-professional actors. For example, my husband and daughter have appeared several times.

A video by Fabiosa Media that has reached half a billion organic views on YouTube

Ideas are helped by analytics. We analyze the market based on big data from our partners Facebook and Tubular Labs. Based on the results, we generate content ideas. We understand what works and what doesn't.
She wouldn't let anyone touch her hair and didn't tell why

A 10-year-old orphan wanted to brush her tangled hair but ended up bald.

Fabiosa Digest Tuesday, December 7, 2021
Video featuring the 10-year-old daughter of the CEO of Fabiosa Media. The video garnered 7.4 million organic views on Facebook.

― What is your assessment of Ukrainian video content from other publishers in terms of brightness and virality?

― We have a lot of talented youth that nobody notices. This is sad. Meanwhile, traditional media live in an illusory world that no longer exists. They broadcast to audiences that still have a TV.

I would recommend content producers to study analytics first, and YouTube has a wonderful creators' school, where they explain how to work with this analytics. I think creators don't use it at all. I think there's no time for evolution in traditional media, but a revolution is possible.

From freelancer to CEO: it all started with a needle and thread

Olena, tell us how you became a copywriter. What was the path that led to the leadership of Fabiosa Media?

― I am a seamstress by education. I have loved sewing and crafting since childhood, so I initially decided to go in that direction. But I quickly changed my profile, becoming an English translator. I translated orally, synchronously, and in writing.

In 2004, when the internet was still relatively empty, I was offered a copywriter job. I had to write articles. At that time, I didn't know I could write but decided to try. At that time, to create any kind of text, you had to go to the library. That's how I wrote 400 articles on marketing, PR, and advertising for one of the first thematic resources.

From 2004 to 2015, I translated, wrote texts, books, and was a host-writer. I wrote a lot and fast. Even during maternity leave, I worked because the market is always moving forward.

Олена Разінькова уже 20 років працює у сфері створення медіапродуктів. Спершу це були статті у профільних бізнес-виданнях, а тепер ― відео. Фото надане Fabiosa Media
Olena Razinkova has been working in the field of creating media products for 20 years. First, it was articles in specialized business publications, and now – videos. Photo courtesy of Fabiosa Media

― Did you work as a freelancer? Were there problems finding clients?

― Yes, I took orders from various people and companies. There were many clients on freelance. I realized that this market is bottomless, and there will always be work here. At the same time, over 11 years of freelancing, it seemed to me that competition in the market should constantly intensify, as all you need to write articles is a computer, the internet, and a bit of brainpower.

But in reality, there was always a shortage of good copywriters. Besides the ability to write, this job requires very clear self-organization. Not many authors can deliver work on time and make it so that the client likes it. Unfortunately, only a minimal percentage of freelancers have these qualities.

― Tell us how you met Fabiosa and what your path was to managing the company.

― First, there was Genesis. The company was my client. Then they invited me to the team as a senior copywriter. I didn't agree right away. They got me because I love to develop, and my motto is "learn while you earn." They offered me to learn SEO optimization and SMM. I worked in the SEO team for about a year. Then I became an editor in another project that was developed in African markets.

At the time, I didn't know anything about social media analytics, but I knew a lot about content and how to package it for Facebook. In 2017, I was offered to become the head of a small English-language project aimed at the American audience. In eight months, we became a project that brought 80% of the profit to the holding. We got about 100 million views on the site, and our real-time online increased from 100 users to 80,000. To conquer the American audience, the project team grew from two to 25 specialists in six months.

As of 2018, we had seven editorial offices working in seven languages. I headed the English unit, which grew from scratch to an editorial office of 45 specialists.

Then they were looking for someone to become the Head of Content of all editorials. And, having successfully passed the testing, I took this position. And soon I became CEO.

— Do you remember the turning point when you realized that content is king, and you want to create it?

― I'll share an insight: I don't want to deal with content. I don't like dealing with content. I like to influence people's emotions and thoughts. Content is not king. The viewer is king. And this is the non-obvious thing that most content creators miss.

When we make our videos now, I never think about the main character's emotions. I am interested in the emotions of the viewer. At Fabiosa, we work with an audience that generates 7-10 billion views per month – in total across all platforms. We have 166 million followers on Facebook, 20 million on YouTube, 1.5 million on Instagram, and already 100,000 on Snapchat, which we entered relatively recently. These numbers are constantly growing every month.

— What goals do you set for yourself and the company for the next few years?

― Of course, we want to become number one. Number four is good, but number one is better.